Last week we had a visit from IT consultants Jerry and Corrine Niman who are helping us scope our Office 365 implementation.
For those who are unfamiliar with Office 365 it is (in Jerry’s words):
“A cloud-based suite of office productivity, collaboration, communication and automation tools provided by Microsoft from its datacentres in Dublin and Amsterdam. It provides extensive support for collaboration both internally and with partners, and can be used on PCs, iOS and Android mobile devices, Apple Macs and on any device with an up-to-date web browser. It is constantly updated with new features and improvements and is widely used in the UK Higher Education community.“
The Office 365 platform includes an ever-growing range of facilities, currently including:
- Exchange (email, calendaring, to-do lists etc.)
- SharePoint (document storage, workflow)
- OneDrive for Business (a personal file storage space with the ability to share files and folders and to synchronise files across devices)
- Online Office Applications (web-based versions of Word, Excel etc.)
- Skype for Business (teleconferencing and videoconferencing)
- Stream (video file management, storage and delivery)
- Teams (group collaboration, shared document storage spaces, team web sites)
- Yammer (social networking for the organisation)
- Sway (digital storytelling)
- Delve (searching across Office 365)
- Flow (process and task automation across apps and services)
- Forms (creation of quizzes, surveys, questionnaires, registrations etc.)
- Planner (tools to organise teamwork)
- Project (project management)
- PowerApps (building custom Apps)
- Power BI (powerful reporting tools)
- Dynamics 365 (Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning)
Currently at RAU our students are issued with Office 365 when they join us but our staff continue to use the old Microsoft desktop based tools. We’d like to migrate them as soon as possible.
The main drivers for this change are:
- The Catalyst project
- The strategic imperative to improve the digital environment for staff and students
- The need to replace our telephone system
- The potential opportunities that the office suite could offer us (for example with our telephony)
During their visit Jerry and Corrine spent time speaking to four stakeholder groups in order to better understand our requirements. These groups were:
- Technical Group – Those responsible for the technical implementation of Office 365 who will also have understanding of existing technical dependencies and upgrades required
- User support Group – Those responsible for user support, training, marketing, connections with Intranet etc.
- Governance Group – Those responsible for ensuring we comply with any regulatory frameworks
- Users of the system Group – Those who will be using and exploiting the tools in the Office 365. Both exemplar users and standard users.
They have now shared their scoping document with us which suggests a four-phase approach with some degree of overlap between the first two phases:
- Phase 1 – Project Initiation. Detail planning, investigation and review. High level communications with staff.
- Phase 2 – Preparation. Set up infrastructure. Generate support material. Specific communications with staff.
- Phase 3 – Migration. Migrate users to Office 365.
- Phase 4 – Mop up. Decommission on-premise servers. Archival copies of servers and data. Capture lessons learned. Cancel any redundant software / maintenance contracts etc.
Our first steps will be writing a project plan for the implementation and agreeing the proposal with internal management. We will then need to decide upon the elements of Office 365 to be implemented and set up a pilot group to begin the implementation.
We are working to a very tight time line – so all steam ahead!